How do local governments and local philanthropies in North America come together to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being for all residents? With the help of the Partners for Places grant program. In Blacksburg, Va., home energy retro-fits will help lower-income older adults maintain their independence. In Cincinnati and New Bedford, Mass., partnerships will strengthen local food systems, while Seattle will create opportunities for all its citizens to participate in local environmental progress. In all, eight communities are harnessing the power of partnerships as local government and philanthropy work together to realize a better future for their communities.
The communities were awarded a total of $520,250 by the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities and its partner, the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. Partners for Places helps communities connect local government and philanthropy to invest in sustainability projects that promote a healthy environment, a strong economy, and well-being for all residents.
“The Partners for Places grant program continues to help encourage community-based funders to expand their sustainability grantmaking,” says Alison Corwin, a program officer at the Surdna Foundation and a 2014 PLACES Fellow. “Sustainability initiatives, like the eight announced today, create deep impact when they are driven by the community and promote an inclusive process for the many stakeholders in each of these communities.”
The Round Six Partners for Places grants are:
- Blacksburg, Va., $83,750 to launch an energy retrofit program in homes of lower-income older adults in Blacksburg and the New River Valley in order to extend their independence and expand adoption of energy efficiency practices. (Partner: The Community Foundation of the New River Valley)
- Chula Vista, Calif., $67,500 to help move the community to the next level of water management and resiliency through water reuse opportunities in the face of persistent and long-term drought facing the region and state. (Partner: The San Diego Foundation)
- Cincinnati, Ohio, $105,000 to enhance and strengthen Cincinnati’s regional food system through civic engagement, new policies, and creation of a Cincy Food Fund and food fellowships. (Partners: The Carol Ann and Ralph V. Haile, Jr./U.S. Bank Foundation; Interact for Health)
- Madison, Wis., $25,000 to utilize the arts and community organizing to empower residents of diverse neighborhoods to identify and pursue neighborhood sustainability goals. (Partner: CUNA Mutual Foundation)
- New Bedford, Mass., $39,000 to increase food security in New Bedford and advance the Sustaining New Bedford Plan goals by promoting use of the SNAP benefits program at city farmers’ markets and enhancing engagement with community gardens. (Partners: Island Foundation; Rainy Day Fund/Community Foundation of Southeastern Massachusetts; The Upstream Foundation)
- Seattle, Wash., $75,000 to create opportunities for all residents, especially people of color, immigrants, refugees, low-income, and those with limited-English proficiency, to fully participate in and benefit from Seattle’s environmental progress. (Partners: Bullitt Foundation; The Seattle Foundation; The Russell Family Foundation; Loom Foundation; Social Venture Partners Seattle)
- Stamford, Conn., $75,000 to activate the Stamford 2030 District, a resilient, high-performance building district in downtown Stamford with goals to dramatically reduce demand for energy and water resources and increase resiliency by 2030. (Partner: Emily Hall Tremaine Foundation)
- Vancouver, B.C., $50,000 to support Vancouver’s Upcycle Design Project, which seeks to catalyze the shift to integrated materials recovery and reuse, and green economy jobs in Vancouver’s design, construction, and demolition sectors. (Partner: Vancouver Foundation)
To date, Partners for Places has awarded more than $2.5 million across North America.
Partners for Places will open a seventh round of funding with a Request for Proposals available in June 2015. To attract additional interest in urban sustainability projects beyond those funded, it also houses an Idea Bank on the Funders’ Network website, which provides summaries of project applications.
Partners for Places – a project of the Funders’ Network for Smart Growth and Livable Communities is a successful matching grant program that improves U.S. and Canadian communities by building partnerships between local government sustainability leaders and place-based foundations. National funders invest in local projects developed through these partnerships to promote a healthy environment, a strong economy and well-being for all residents. Through these investments, Partners for Places fosters long-term relationships that make our communities more prosperous, livable and vibrant.
Partners for Places is a collaborative effort of the Funders’ Network and the Urban Sustainability Directors Network. For more information on Partners for Places, please visit the Funders’ Network website at https://www.fundersnetwork.org/participate/green-building/partners-for-places//. Funders interested in becoming a part of Partners for Places should contact Ann Wallace at the Funders’ Network.